Legislative District 41 Interviews

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Questions for Legislative District 41 Candidates:

  1. For new candidates: Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?
  2. For incumbents: Why did you decide to run again? What are some of your recent achievements?
  3. Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.
  4. What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?
  5. What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?
  6. Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

DISCLAIMER: Some responses have been edited for content and clarity.


SEN. JILL P. CARTER

Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

I spent 14 years in the legislature championing for social justice. I was one of the lone voices to oppose the zero tolerance, mass arrest policies of Martin O’Malley. I was a consistent advocate for racial and social justice issues including expungement and police reform. I left the legislature to work as director of the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement in 2016 to work on the issues I care about in a new capacity. I am running for Senate because I see an opportunity to lead Maryland in the direction of being a state that lives up to the reputation of being one of the most progressive states in the U.S. My experience as a legislator, and my record as an advocate for the people give me a unique ability to have a meaningful impact on the 41st district.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

Education — As a delegate I was one of the fiercest advocates for equitable education funding for BCPSS. I will continue to fight to make sure that students in Baltimore have a quality education system. Every child in Baltimore city has the right to an equitable and quality education and the opportunity to realize his/her full potential in life.

Public Health and Safety — We must create effective oversight of the Baltimore Police Department to ensure it serves the needs of every community. We must address our public health crises, such as: massive addiction, lead poisoning and mental health needs to improve public safety. Finally, we must improve education, training, and expand employment opportunities. Public health and safety are inextricably intertwined.

Housing & Economic Development — I support affordable, quality housing, creation of jobs and the growth of local, small, and minority owned businesses.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

The biggest unmet need in the district is the lack of support for community owned businesses. I will work as Senator to improve the level of investment that the Pimlico race track and the Preakness make in the surrounding communities, particularly those communities that are in the most need of those resources.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

The Jewish community has a tradition of having a deep affinity for social justice issues. There is an understanding among many people in the Jewish community that if we do not address social issues and injustice that this will have a negative impact on everyone. My fight for social justice not just impacts those who are being hurt by oppressive systems but will begin to divert investments in prisons and police that ultimately take away from community development efforts in the Jewish community.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

I am one of the few legislators that has served in the Maryland General Assembly that is not controlled by the political establishment. I have always remained independent. I assess every piece of legislation that comes before me based on what is right. Voters can rest assured that not only will I commit to putting people first, my record is consistent with my guarantee.

 

J.D. MERRILL

Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

I’m running for the State Senate because every child deserves access to a great education. And the greatest opportunity in a generation to improve our schools is coming before us in 2019 with the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission. My background as a public school teacher and administrator means that I will bring the experiences and voices of teachers and students to the legislature at a time when important decisions will be made about how an entire generation of young people will experience schooling in the state of Maryland. But this isn’t just about education. If we want to improve public safety, our economy, and our neighborhoods, it starts with strong schools and strong leadership.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

First, we need to improve public education. We need more money, well spent, in order to make up for the historic underfunding and misalignment from best practice that has plagued our schools for decades. We need to take advantage of the Kirwan Commission and dramatically improve education in Maryland.

Second, we need to improve public safety. We need to work to reform our criminal justice system and restore trust and effectiveness in law enforcement. In the short term we need to better train our police officers, greatly improve police oversight, and we need to increase effectiveness. In the medium term we need to make serious investments in education, job training, and treatment within our prison system in order to decrease recidivism. In the long term we need to improve education and employment opportunities to reduce crime.

Lastly, we need to make it easier for residents to reach full employment and make a living wage. That means a statewide $15 minimum wage, supporting unions and expanding collective bargaining rights, and expanding the availability of quality job training and apprenticeship programs. In the last 40 years workers’ share of profits has fallen by 10%, we need to reverse that trend.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

Schools in Baltimore City and state of Maryland have been historically underfunded for decades. During the 2019 legislative session the General Assembly will consider the Kirwan Commission’s plans. I will bring the perspective of a former teacher and administrator to the legislature and make sure that we seize this opportunity to revitalize public education in Maryland.

What policies or programs have you authored or support [sic] that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

My criminal justice platform will make all of Baltimore safer — including Northwest Baltimore. By improving the effectiveness of our police force and making sure it is accountable to Baltimore’s residents we can make all of our communities safer. I also believe that every child deserves access to a great school, regardless of zip code, race, or religion. This means that the state should continue its support of public and non-public schools so that the needs of all learners can be met.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

As a teacher I know how to learn from and listen to those I serve, I know what our students and teachers need in their classrooms, and I know the importance of showing up and working hard every day. I offer the energy and consensus-building leadership to get Baltimore’s students and families the support they need.

 

DEL. SANDY ROSENBERG

Why did you decide to run again? What are some of your recent achievements?

I have important work left to do for the people of the 41st district. We need to ensure that the Preakness remains at Pimlico, with the site becoming an economic and community development attraction for Northwest Baltimore; improve pre-kindergarten – 12th-grade education in Baltimore City and throughout the state by implementing the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education; and preserve parochial school funding from the State.

My advocacy during the 2018 session helped bring about a $1.5 million (~19%) funding increase for the BOOST Scholarship program for low-income students. I introduced legislation that would require online platforms, such as Facebook, to keep records of who paid for political advertisements on their sites. I acted in response to the online ads bought by Russian agents, working at the behest of the Putin government, during the 2016 Presidential election. Several of the provisions in my bill (HB 768) were included in the landmark legislation that the General Assembly enacted. (HB981)

Last year, I introduced the bill which gave Attorney General Brian Frosh the authority to sue the federal government without Governor Hogan’s approval. Whether President Trump is unconstitutionally profiting from his business dealings while in office is the issue in one of the suits the AG filed as a result of this law. A trial judge recently allowed this case to proceed.

When Republicans tried to eliminate funding for the lawyers needed for this litigation, I declared on the House floor, “It is imperative that our Attorney General, on behalf of the people of Maryland, defend the rule of law. It is not tomfoolery to defend the rule of law. It is not political grandstanding to defend the rule of law. That’s what we asked our Attorney General to do.”

This funding was not cut.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

The Preakness is our Super Bowl. Every May, our economy gets a huge boost from visitors and locals celebrating the second jewel of the Triple Crown. An abandoned Pimlico would be a major blow to Northwest Baltimore, the City, and the metropolitan region.

It was my idea for the Maryland Stadium Authority to conduct a study of Pimlico’s future. The final phase of that review will include “visioneering and concept development of an ‘ideal’ Preakness venue… and assessing the site’s ability to accommodate various non-racing functions on a year-round basis.” The study should be completed by December, and I hope to be in Annapolis next January to fight for funding of a future Pimlico and the creation of hundreds of 21st Century jobs.

I support the Kirwan Commission’s recommendation to increase funding for public schools and to provide universal access to public and private pre-kindergarten for all four-year olds and low income three-year olds. I led the way on pre-K funding by introducing the Maryland Early

Learning Challenge and School Readiness Act in 2013.

When we raise more money for public schools, I would vote for a more progressive way of doing so than the current reliance on lottery or slots revenues. In the long term, the State of Maryland should move towards an equitable tax system that relies mostly upon a progressive income tax, instead of on regressive sales taxes or lottery and gaming revenues to fund the State budget.

My first job was as the first Director of the Section 8 Existing Housing Program for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. As a consequence, affordable and safe housing has been a priority of my legislative career.

Slots money has been used to create a $400,000 homeownership loan pool for the purchase and renovation of homes in Northwest Baltimore and is administered by CHAI. Street sweeping and facade renovation of residential properties have also been funded I was instrumental in passing the legislation that created this funding source.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

Public safety is the most pressing unmet need in the 41st District. We should get guns off the street. We should target the serious offenders. We should address the conditions that breed crime.

A constituent met with me about juveniles who had threatened to rob him. What could be done to impose the appropriate penalty on young but serious offenders? The failure of witnesses to appear, I found out, is a major problem. I worked with Del. Luke Clippinger on House Bill 1023. With the passage of this bill, a judge can now ensure a witness’s attendance by issuing a court order directing that a witness be brought before the court.

I also support the crime prevention efforts of the Northwest Citizens Patrol and Shomrim.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

I worked with former State Senator Barbara Hoffman and the late Rabbi Herman Neuberger to create the textbook aid program and have supported its funding from the outset. I support parochial school aid, whether it be textbook aid, scholarships, facility upgrades, or resource sharing, because every child in Baltimore deserves the best education possible.

The Weinberg Park Heights JCC was evacuated twice last year due to bomb threats. I sponsored the bill that made hate crimes a felony in Maryland. I introduced HB246 (2018) to make a threat to commit such a crime a felony as well, even if there was no attempt to carry it out, as was the case at the JCC. HB 246 did not pass, but we did enact a law expanding hate crimes to include illegal actions directed at a group of people, not just an individual. This change in the law reflects the harm that such crimes can have on the greater community’s sense of security.

Rabbi Meir and Bleema Sher owned Sher Auto Sales on Reisterstown Road. The Shers are observant. Under Maryland’s Blue Laws, their business had to be closed on Sundays. They could not even send a title application to the Motor Vehicle Administration’s website. This five-day work week seriously hampered their business. The legislation that we drafted and passed allowed a used car dealer in Baltimore City to inform the Motor Vehicle Administration that the business will be closed on Saturday, instead of Sunday. I joined the Shers at their business on the first Sunday that they were open.

Leo Bretholz was a survivor. He never made it to a concentration camp. Instead, he jumped from a train headed from France to the German border. I worked with Leo on legislation requiring all companies that want to bid for MARC train service contracts to disclose their specific involvement in Nazi regime deportations. The passage of HB 520 (2011) was instrumental in getting the French National Railroad to finally disclose its deportation files and be held accountable for its actions aiding and abetting in the deportation of Jews and other victims to Nazi concentration camps.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

I am an effective representative for the Jewish community, as part of my representation of all of the diverse neighborhoods of the 41st district. In my first term as a Delegate, Ben Cardin was the Speaker of the House, and I was the junior member of the 42nd District delegation. What I learned from Ben is to work hard both in Annapolis and back home in Baltimore; to write good legislation and to advocate for the neighborhoods back home.

 

DEL. ANGELA C. GIBSON

Why did you decide to run again? What are some of your recent achievements?

Public service and servant leadership is my reason for running again. I want to be elected to a full-term in the Maryland House of Delegates so I can continue my advocacy work on the judiciary committee to toughen hate crime laws and family law sub-committee to keep fighting for Baltimore working families, children and seniors. I have much work to complete, including strengthening our gun laws and fighting the opioid crisis.

I was successful in being the lead sponsor of legislation addressing problem liquor establishments in the district. Hours of operation were reduced from 6 a.m.-2 a.m. to 9 a.m.-10 p.m.  In addition I was a lead sponsor for the bond bill granting $250,000 to the West Arlington Water Tower and co-sponsor of other bond bills for the district.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

Full funding of the Kirwan Commission recommendations for our schools. Keeping the Preakness in Baltimore and re-development of the Pimlico Racetrack and the surrounding com-munities which will create job opportunities and economic development in the local areas.

Vacant houses plague many parts of Baltimore City in the 41st district, particularly the Park Heights neighborhood. The vacant houses not only destabilizes and causes the decay of our communities, it also harms our stable neighborhoods in the 41st District. I would advocate for a substantial public investment in non-speculative housing and the voter approved affordable housing trust fund. Our city needs more affordable housing units with the goal of really helping Baltimore City residents living in terrible conditions. I sup-port holding developers accountable and forcing them to construct affordable and workforce housing units in all new multiunit housing developments. In addition, I will look to implement programs that work in other communities like rent control housing and drastically enlarging the number of housing vouchers.  We will also need to create opportunities for Women and Minority Business Enterprises to build moderate/affordable price housing.  Baltimore residents need better housing options free of Lead paint.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

Crime in Baltimore is simply at an unacceptable level. Baltimore as a community cannot truly grow and prosper at the current crime level. However, this uptick in crime did not happen in a vacuum and we cannot simply arrest our way out of this problem. We must re-build the relationship between law enforcement and the community and that starts with all patrol officers having body cameras. I also believe in community policing, and I would implement various comprehensive and holistic approaches, such as Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Violence Reduction Zones, while working closely with the community to improve public health and safety, hold law enforcement officials ac-countable for their actions, and target the most violent and repeat of-fenders before they do harm in our communities. I would increase foot patrols and crack down on open-air drug markets.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

I was a co-sponsor for a state bond bill to Bnos Yisroel for $250,000 to upgrade their gymnasium. I am proud to state that I supported Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018 recently signed by the Governor Larry Hogan. In addition, I support Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.’s special commission to review the anti-harassment policies of all three branches of government.  Based on the future recommendations of this commission, I could support additional legislation to address these issues.

The right to economically compete in the marketplace and given a fair opportunity provide for one’s family is one of the most important civil rights a citizen can have. I support a statewide $15.00 minimum wage. In addition, in order to help close the wage gap, I supported The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, an increase in funding for the Child Care Subsidy program for low-income families, and increased state support for the Obamacare marketplace. I support legislation that will study possible protections that can help identify and challenge discriminatory pay and employment practices and address gender-based occupational segregation.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

During my time in Annapolis, I have relentlessly fought for Maryland families. I am longtime friend and colleague of Delegate Sandy Rosenberg and I am proud of the work together we have achieved in Annapolis. I hope to continue this great partnership working for the 41st District, advocating for strong neighborhoods, holistic crime fighting strategies and keeping the Preakness at Pimlico through a public private partnership that also fights poverty and promotes economic development in Northwest Baltimore.

I have been endorsed by the great leadership of the state – Sen. Ben Cardin; Congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes and Speaker Michael Busch.

 

DALYA ATTAR

Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

When I was asked to run by community leaders who felt that there was an opportunity for more diversity, fresh voices, and new ideas in the legislature, I agreed to run for several reasons.

Most important, my experiences and background enable me to be a voice for the entire district. I grew up in a middle-income family that faced economic challenges. I left high school after 11th grade but took a path through community college and the University of Baltimore, and ultimately earned a law degree from University of Maryland. I worked my way through college to pay tuition, used public transportation to get to work, and for a period of time did not have health care for my family, including my 2 children. I have lived through the struggles of many Baltimore City families, and I can fight for real solutions for everyone.

At the same time, I understand that interests and nuances of the Orthodox Jewish community. As an Orthodox Jewish woman who is a first-generation Baltimore native, I bring greater diversity and understanding to the legislature.

I also felt compelled to run when I saw that legislation to protect women and children failed to pass year after year, including protecting females from human traffickers, sexual assault, and forced female genitalia mutilation. It should not have taken 10 years for rapists to lose custody of the children conceived from a sexual assault. Women comprise only 31% of the House of Delegates, and we offer different perspectives and different approaches which are needed to help protect our families.

Finally, many of the legislators have been in office for years and are out of touch with the younger voters and contemporary issues. When you look at some of the committee chairs or legislators who have not been able to help Baltimore City after decades in office, it is clear that we need new leaders with new ideas.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

  1. Reducing Crime – As an Assistant State’s Attorney in Baltimore City, I have a front-row view of the crime, juvenile crime, drug dealings and gangs. We need tougher sentences for repeat, violent offenders; more youth programs to provide city youngsters with alternatives to gangs and crime; and ensure that returning citizens can have a second chance, with job opportunities or training.
  2. Education – I support the casino lock-box to bring more funds to Baltimore City schools, but I also know that we have to have stronger accountability and responsibility with education dollars. I believe we need universal pre-K to give kids a strong foundation, and am also a strong supporter of skills training in high schools, as not everyone can or must go to college, but they should have opportunities to earn high wages.
  3. Jobs and the economy – To recruit and retain good jobs in Baltimore City, we must have a strong trained and skilled workforce, accessible and reliable public transportation, affordable housing for workers, and the ability to give businesses the confidence that we are going to really turn things around in Baltimore City. We also have to stop raising taxes to fund every whim, and more responsibly spend state funding on key priorities.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

Rather than create a lack of confidence in the political system and incumbents, the funding disparity and income inequality in the district has created extreme disunity between neighborhoods, and led to increasingly vocal anti-Semitism and other intolerances.

As the daughter of immigrants who fled extremist regimes, I fear a great crisis in our district if the misconceptions continue. While as a Delegate my priorities would be to focus on legislation to address key problems of crime, education and the economy, it will be critical to develop greater efforts of understanding and tolerance in our district. As part of a diverse representation of our district in Annapolis, I can play a key role.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

First and foremost, we need to have proper representation in Annapolis. I strongly support an independent redistricting commission, and an impartial, non-partisan redistricting process, that will help achieve this. In two years, we will have a census that will likely reduce the number of legislators for Baltimore City in the redistricting process. I believe we need to return to a city-county district that encompasses the full Orthodox Jewish community, to ensure that it has proper representation in the General Assembly, while at the same time it can elect legislators who also come from non-Jewish or non-Orthodox backgrounds.

I think it is important to emphasize that any policy or program I support would help everyone, including benefiting the Jewish community. Improving public schools, reducing crime, creating more jobs, lowering taxes – these help everyone. I would focus on responsible and responsive leadership for the entire district.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

It’s very simple – if you think Baltimore is in a good place, then support the incumbents. If you think that it has great room for improvement, then elect new leadership. I am from outside the political system, and am not beholden to the machine politicians or special interests. I am an independent voice for the change that our city needs in leadership. Many of my opponents are divisive and dangerous. I am inclusive and will represent everyone in the district. Do we want politicians who supports BDS policies against Israel? Do we want politicians who feel state funding should not help non-public schools? Do we want politicians who stayed quiet while our tax dollars were paying the salary for a legislator who admitted to breaking the law, as he faced federal indictments? As a mom and attorney, I bring compassion and solutions, and want to restore faith in government by serving as a role model for the public while really getting things done in Annapolis.

 

TONY BRIDGES

Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

My interest in running for delegate is simple; our neighborhoods have lost its connection with what’s happening in Annapolis and what’s needed within the district. I’m running because I believe we need to ensure that the needs of our communities are met when policies are made in Annapolis.

As I progressed in my career, I have taken on different roles such as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Constituent Services, Chief of Staff for the Maryland Transit Administration, Director of Community Affairs for Johns Hopkins and working for a local community development corporation.

No matter where I’ve been or who I’ve worked for, the common theme is what we’ve done together to help change communities.

I am running for state delegate for the 41st district to fight for better schools, better public transportation, smarter public safety policies, and equal community development for all our neighborhoods.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

The safety of our citizens is paramount. It’s time to develop and implement policies to curb gun violence, support and expand proven grass-roots public safety organizations, and train and employ citizens who collectively contribute to a safer environment for everyone.

Public education should be quality education, with every resource available to support our students and future generations. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has multiple promising preliminary findings in its draft, but I look forward to seeing the final recommendations and will fight to ensure they include priorities such as universal access to Pre-kindergarten, adequate funding for Baltimore City Public Schools, teacher incentives for those who are highly effective in the classroom, and a governance structure to guide the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission.

The economic disparity between race and geography needs to be acknowledged and addressed so that we can have substantial community development and economic equality throughout our city and state. It’s vitally important to bring people together to make decisive choices and tackle systemic issues head on. There is no one initiative that will address the disparity. There are some longstanding issues that we must find multiple ways to address.

Efforts include:

  • Increase the minimum wage to give individuals a living wage of $15 per hour
  • Put people to work to rebuild the state’s infrastructure
  • Ensure that new housing development includes affordable units for low and moderate-income residents
  • Fund and promote more financial literacy programming
  • Invest in public education with an eye toward public/private partnership
  • Ensure that our public transportation takes individuals to job centers.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

The most pressing unmet need in the district is the future direction of Pimlico Race Course. I believe that Pimlico Race Course offers a huge opportunity for us to create change for Park Heights and we should not only keep the Preakness but enable the facility to be an economic engine for the community. As a community, we must identify potential development options that would be beneficial to both the surrounding neighborhoods and for the Preakness Stakes. I’m hopeful that as the Maryland Stadium Authority meets with the community to review options, we will find the best solution for the future of the site.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

I fully support the work of CHAI – Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. I also live in the community that is served by CHAI, so I see first-hand how the organization has increased home ownership and economic stability in northwest Baltimore and provided services to the most vulnerable populations in our community; all with the mission of improving neighborhoods with a significant Jewish presence.

I also worked previously with Park Heights Renaissance, so I know the power that good partnerships can have on uplifting all communities. I’m proud of the partnership between CHAI and PHR in the development and construction Renaissance Gardens which is the start of the cluster development project in the Park Heights community.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

For over a decade, I have dedicated my professional career and personal life to work that brings resources to communities throughout the state.

As a young neighborhood liaison in the Mayor’s Office, I have advocated for communities in City Hall and fought to have the city provide services that the communities demanded. I spearheaded the Mayor’s Conference of Neighborhoods to bring communities together beyond their neighborhood boundaries to learn from one another on best practices and capacity-building.

As I progressed in my career, I have taken on different roles but no matter where I’ve been or who I’ve worked for, the common theme is what we’ve done together to help change communities. I have a record of working to help make communities better.

I’m running for delegate because I believe I have the experience to be the bridge between the changemakers and those that need the change.

 

RICHARD BRUNO

Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

Every day, I care for our city’s uninsured and low-income residents as a practicing physician in a federally qualified health center. Seeing the devastation wrought on people’s bodies, on their families’ lives, and on our whole city by poverty has compelled me to run for House of Delegates in the 41st. When we address poverty directly, we can end its symptoms: violence, a failing education system, and a lack of healthcare.

My legislative work in Annapolis began a few years ago, when I assisted Del. Dan Morhaim, M.D. in developing a statewide ban on the use of plastic microbeads in soaps and toothpastes. These little beads were washed down the drain, ending up in the Bay and in seafood that Marylanders would then eat – it was a serious public health concern. We worked together and negotiated with the personal care product industry to come to a resolution. Together, we passed the bill, which became the model for the nationwide federal ban on plastic microbeads in hygiene products.

As a Delegate, I’d be ready to hit the ground running in Annapolis, fighting for the people and the neighborhoods of the 41st every day.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

First off, we absolutely need healthcare for everyone, without exception. In our district and in Baltimore more broadly, we have people who avoid seeing a doctor because of the cost, and even those who do get to see a doctor often can’t afford their medications and are forced to make the heartbreaking choice between medication and food. It is outrageous that anyone should have to make that choice. 1 in 8 people is uninsured, and it is likely to get worse under the current administration. We need to act now, here in Maryland, to protect our most vulnerable people from additional cruelty.

We also need to tackle the unjustifiable state of our city’s schools. My two children are both in Baltimore City public schools and they can’t even drink the water because the pipes are full of lead. This past winter, children were freezing in their classrooms because schools didn’t have working heating systems. When you listen to stories like these, the poor grades and failing test scores that grab local media headlines suddenly don’t look like a failure on the part of the students, but an indictment of the adults in charge.

Right now, we need to address the poverty that is so pervasive in our district and the horrific violence it breeds. Let’s be very clear. No one of any race or background would ever turn to a life of drug dealing or violent crime if they had better options. Violence and the closely related problem of drug trafficking spring directly from conditions of poverty. Rather than reusing the failed tactics from twenty-five years ago that brought about the mass incarceration of countless Black Americans, it’s time we worked together to end poverty and fully value Black Lives.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

Violence. We urgently need to invest in our neighborhoods to prevent violent crime before it starts and dramatically raise the standard of living. Violence only grows where opportunities are scarce, so it should come as no surprise that violent crimes occur most often in areas that are most neglected. In the short term, we need to fully fund proven violence prevention programs like Safe Streets, rather than rely on police to prevent crimes and tackle social dysfunctions beyond their authority or areas of expertise. We have seen what tough-on-crime gets us: after years of these demonstrably failed policies, we came right back to where we started, with 2017 being the deadliest year on record since 1993. Community-level, evidence-based violence prevention is what we need right now. In the long term, however, we need to invest in our neighborhoods and bring economic empowerment to all corners of the city and across the 41st district. Making a waterfront into a tourist area and building convention centers have proven themselves ineffective at ending cities’ economic and criminal justice problems. A community-level approach however can raise incomes and lower crime while being inclusive of long-time community members.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

An old friend once told me about the concept of tikkun olam, this idea that we must all work to heal the world, and although I haven’t always known those words, that is the basis of my dream to practice as both a doctor and a legislator. Although I work each day to heal my patients, I know that is not enough. My patients are low-income and many of them are uninsured. Even after I see them in my clinic, many are going back to home situations that don’t always allow them to fully heal. I cannot, in good conscious only work to help my patients while I’m at the clinic, I believe we all must also work to improve our communities on a larger scale. For me this means helping to author and pass legislation to lower prescription drug costs and to work with community organizations to ensure all our citizens have access to the care they need in and out of their homes. I believe that it is my duty as a doctor to practice tikkun olam and I know that I can help many more people in Annapolis than I can in my clinic alone.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

As Delegate for the 41st district, I will take an evidence-based, public health approach to our city and state’s challenges, from the cost of healthcare to violence in Baltimore City. More of the same will not work, and we are far past the time for small changes. It’s time we think big and take an entirely new approach to our critical problems, focusing on helping people in our city and the important policies that will best serve them. It’s not enough to talk about making things better or fixing problems that should have been resolved years ago. We need to work together to make the 41st a place where we all want to live. As your delegate, I will be happy to serve you on that mission.

 

JOYCE J SMITH

Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

I decided to run for the office of State Delegate because I feel that even with my long time grass roots involvement in the community; I will be able to work at a higher level (legislatively) to achieve more results. I was elected to serve on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee for the last 12 years, currently serving as 1st Vice Chair, and until recently Chair of the Voter Registration Sub Committee.  Serving for the last 10 years as Secretary of the Howard Park Civic Association, was a member of the ShopRite Supermarket committee, member of Urban Renewal Committee for Liberty Heights Corridor and Ambassador Theater Redevelopment Committee.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

Three of the most important policies of my platform are: Improving the educational environment and initiatives in the early school years to keep children from falling through the cracks, economic and community development; and adequate housing resources for singles, couples, homeless, and seniors.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

The most pressing unmet need that I see in the 41st District is economic development. I would try to provide incentives to bring more quality businesses to the community with the expectation of better wages leading to less crime and more community pride. The state could partner with the city to offer some kind of financial incentive to hire and train locally.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

One policy that would benefit the Jewish Community that I support is the expansion of the Boast Tax Credit Program and the Boost Scholarship program. Both are geared to non-traditional schools.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

Residents should vote for me because I am not a new resident working in this community. I have lived in the 41st District for over 40 years.  I have formed relationships through my community connections as well as spending a lot of time in Annapolis forming relationships there statewide. I am able to spend full time focus on this position of State Delegate because I do not have other responsibilities that would take precedence.  I have a level of respect and integrity that has never been questioned.  I am running on the 3 R’s = Relationships, Respect, and Results.  The first two R’s will bring about results.  I am the only candidate who has a relative (sister) who is already a State Delegate so I have the advantage of full time mentoring which will allow me to hit the ground running and shorten the learning curve.

 

SEAN STINNETT

Why did you decide to run and what are your credentials?

I decided to run for House of Delegates four years ago.  A change needed to take place because the current leadership has not effectively moved District 41 into a thriving and livable District as we should be.  Helping people gain access to opportunities is at the core of both his personal and professional lives.  I currently work in the Office of Business Programs for the Maryland Department of General Services as their Procurement Review Group (PRG) Administrator.  There I assist in maximizing small, minority, and veteran-owned businesses participation in State contracts.  On the community level, I am the President of the West Arlington Improvement Association, President of the Liberty-Wabash Presidents Alliance, Hopkins District Chairman for the Baltimore Area Council – Boy Scouts of America, Executive Board Member of the Gwynn Oak Islamic Community, Alumni Council member at Baltimore School for the Arts, Senior member of COR/300 Men March Movement, former School Family Council member at The Mount Washington School and Vice-Chairman for Xpressive4ever Dance, Inc.  Sean is also the co-founder of the Edmondson Village Farmers Market and co-manages the Howard Park Community Farmers Market with his wife.

Highlight/explain three of the most important policies in your platform.

I know that children are our future.  I believe it takes engagement across the entire community to connect our students with high-quality educational opportunities.  I have a track record of working with local leaders, parents and school officials to improve learning outcomes for kids in the 41st District.  As Delegate, I will expand funding for vocational programs in Baltimore City Public School that connect to real, living wage skilled jobs in growing industries.

The 41st District is comprised of a mix of diverse neighborhoods from the top of the Northwest section of Baltimore City to the Southwest.  I know that it is imperative that we have safe, livable and thriving communities.  As Delegate, I will focus on economic development and livability along Park Heights Avenue, Reisterstown Road, Edmondson Avenue and Liberty Heights Avenue and encourage families to purchase and rehabilitate homes to stabilize our neighborhoods.

I have long worked as an economic development professional with minority business enterprises, helping entrepreneurs access opportunities that create jobs and strengthen our communities.  Small business are critical to the strength of the community, providing local, accessible living wage jobs, opportunities for advancement and ownership and wealth that remain in the community.  As Delegate, I will continue to work with state government and local agencies to make investments in Baltimore City, whether by locating government facilities here, building transportation infrastructure or directing development resources like Project CORE through the District.  These investments bring opportunities for small and minority business creation.

What is the most pressing unmet need in your district and how do you plan to address it?

The most pressing unmet need in the 41st District is the lack of development from community, economic and small business development.  I will work thriving MBE businesses in order to create community wealth and increase jobs and opportunities for the residents of the 41st District.

What policies or programs have you authored or support that would, or do, benefit the Jewish community?

A few years ago I started a program with the mission to strengthen the relationships between the Jewish and Black communities through the Boy Scouts.  While I was Chairman of the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of American, the last three years, I have trained young scouts on outdoor maintenance (lawn mowing & snow removal) in the Fallstaff, Cheswolde, Mt. Washington and Glen communities.  Which we partnered with Northwest Neighbors Connecting via CHAI.

Why should residents vote for you? How do you stand out from your opponents?

I believe we show how much we care by how much we do and my leadership in the community is a testament to how much I care about making our schools better, our streets safer and our businesses local.  I stand out from my other opponents because I am the only candidate whom has worked and partnered with other community leaders and their neighborhoods throughout the entire District; Irvington to Roland Park.  I have worked with all faith-based communities from Muslim, Jewish and Christians which shows that I am the candidate who can start to bridge the necessary gaps to turn the 41st District into one thriving District.

Del. Bilal Ali and candidates Tessa Hill-Aston, Walter J. Horton and George E. Mitchell did not respond to emails.

The Primary Election is June 26. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Early voting runs June 14 through June 21 at early voting centers from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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